The one about Oliver’s long-due birthday being celebrated.
He woke up suddenly, his body jerking because of the dream, and immediately turned on his side to seek her warmth, his body already thirsting for the feel of hers. They had been on the road for more than a week, stopping by wherever they wanted, and it had never felt more like home to him. She was his home, his place to be. And he was happy.
His hands came up to empty air and he suddenly sat up, instincts that had been dormant in him for over a week rising up with a vengeance. The room was dark and vacant and he got down from the bed, naked as he was, and started walking towards the outer room. They were shacked up in the snowy mountains somewhere, he had even lost where they were, in a small two-room cottage, just enjoying, discovering each other.
He walked into the outer room slowly, his eyes seeking her, finding nothing. The fire was roaring below the mantel, bathing the dark room in its glow, but she was nowhere to be found.
“Felicity?” he called out, unable to understand where she was, his heart slowly starting to pound in his chest as he turned on the spot, looking everywhere.
“Felicity?” he called out louder, just a hint of frantic seeping into his voice. Where was she? Had something happened while he had been asleep?
He was full out panicking now, running to the bathroom and pushing the door open, unable to find her anywhere, his heart thumping painfully. No. No. No. She had to be alright.
A sound came from the outer room and he ran back out, adrenaline pumping through his veins, and stopped dead in his tracks, his jaw dropped. The clear wall on the left had been made a screen, and Sara’s face was plastered all over it. She was smiling and looking at the camera, with that small devious grin on her face she used to sport before the island, speaking.
“Hey Ollie,” she waved slightly, then someone behind the camera fidgeted and readjusted the entire thing, and came back again while he stared in shock.
“So, you know how these videos go. We used to have them like crazy before the island, remember? Anyways, just wanted to tell you that you are the best, albeit stubborn, but best man I have ever known. And you deserve happiness more than anyone. I hope you find it. I’m so proud to have you as my friend.” She spoke to someone behind the camera then nodded. “Anyways, not much time left, so happy birthday, big guy! I hope this one doesn’t suck like the last 143 ones.”
With a wink, she faded from the screen, and he reeled. When? How? But before he could catch up, his mother’s face filled the screen, and his breath hitched at the exasperated look on her face he had though he would never see again.
“Thea, make it quick, I have a meeting… Oh, we’re on?” She nodded and smiled at the camera. “I remember the day you were born, Oliver. So small and so beautiful. You changed me that day. I was reborn with you. Happy birthday, my beautiful boy. I’m so proud of the man you have become and remember, you’ll never be without me.”
A tear escaped his eyes as his mouth trembled and he watched, transfixed as the screen shifted to the inside of STAR Labs where Barry was holding the camera, grinning so widely that Oliver felt a smile tug on his lips just watching his excitement. Barry fixed the camera on some stand and came on the screen. “So, when I was told to make this for your birthday, I’ll admit I flipped out.” He bounced a little and Oliver chuckled.
“I used to look up to you long before I knew any of this, before I knew you. And when I did get into the madness that is this world, despite of what anybody would tell me, I knew that you were the strongest man I knew, with the kindest heart.” Barry shrugged a little. “So, even though we are busy with our own things, I’m so glad I have you to count on, wherever, whenever.”
Oliver smiled remembering the words Barry had said to him, knowing he was there for him too. Barry continued. “You inspire me everyday to fight for what I believe in, to trust myself. I’m so thankful to have you as a friend in my life. Happy birthday, Oliver.”
With a small nod, he took the camera and shifted it to get Caitlin and Cisco on screen, the latter who was literally bouncing. “I still cannot believe I actually know you! This is so freaking cool. Anyways, happy birthday!”
Caitlin chimed in with her wishes and Ray came on screen behind Cisco. “So, I just happened to be here and since everyone is doing this, so am I. Happy birthday, Oliver. I know we have had our differences, but I’m glad to know you. You truly are an inspiring man.”
Oliver shook his head, still shocked as the screen shifted to Diggle and Lyla, in their living room, holding a squealing Sara. His mouth lifted watching them.
John spoke ruefully. “You know how verbal I am about my feelings, Oliver.”
A chuckle escaped Oliver before he knew it and he shook his head as John grinned on screen. “Yeah, right man. You know. So, I’ll just say this. We have been through some pretty bad shit together, and we will in future too. But we’ll get through man. Because you’re my brother. Happy birthday, Oliver. You deserve to celebrate it more than anyone else.”
“Happy birthday, Oliver,” Lyla chimed in. “Thank you for bringing Johnny back.”
And their faces faded away and Detective Lance came up, his gruff face and in his officer’s uniform. Oliver frowned but listened. “I know you used to be the bad guy but since you try a better way and Ms. Smoak vouches for you, I know now you are one of the good ones. So happy birthday, Arrow.”
Laurel came on next with a smile. “I know we don’t always see eye-to-eye, but I am proud of the man you have become. Happy birthday, Oliver. I’ve learned a lot from you. Hope you’re having fun.”
The shot cut out and Oliver leaned back against the wall, his knees weak but eyes fixed, surprised when he saw a scruffier Roy come on screen, smiling the way he used to, and Oliver felt a deep pang go through his chest.
“You know, I’m proud to have annoyed you enough to let me get in the team.” Oliver chuckled at that, and watched Roy smile. “I don’t know where exactly I am going but the one thing I learned from you is how to keep walking, even when everything seems hard. It’s not hard. I’m actually happy. So, thank you, for everything. And happy birthday.”
There was silence before finally, Thea came one, in the loft, smiling. “Heyya, Ollie. I hope you are having a great time just being wherever you are and won’t tell me.”
She raised her eyebrows pointedly before shaking her head. “All of us are happy and fine here and I actually found something special for you, for your birthday. I love you so much, Ollie, and you are still the best brother in the world. You’ll always be. Happy birthday! Now wait.”
She got up and sat down with a tablet, grinning. “I’ve connected it so the next thing you watch will be straight from here. Enjoy!”
There was static before Tommy’s face came on screen and Oliver fell back into the wall, his hand clamping over his mouth at his grinning best friend. He looked so young.
“So,” Tommy began, “Thea told me she was planning something grand for your birthday since you probably only celebrated with wild vegetation on the island. So, this video is to be shown to you before her amazing party, so that you’ll remember it. Ever since I saw you doing that stunt on the monkey bars when we were 4, I have thought you were the coolest person I knew. Well, that changed. I am the coolest person I know.”
His chuckle made Oliver’s mouth tremble as Tommy continued, looking more serious. “Who you are is my best friend, my brother, who came back to me and I have never been more grateful of anything in my life as I was of the day they announced they had found you. I know this violates our code, but I love you man. You are so strong, and so good and I wish you the most happiness in the world. Happy birthday, Ollie! To celebrating life.”
The screen cut out and Oliver stood on shaking legs, the tears flowing freely now, as the screen came alive one last time with Felicity’s smiling face looking back at him, instantly soothing his frazzled nerves.
“Soooo,” she began, biting her lip slightly. “This idea was actually Tommy’s. Thea showed me the video last year, after Christmas one day, and we got to planning. So she got your mom on the camera and I did Sara. But since, well, Slade happened, it got delayed and I really wanted to do this this year but then shit hit the fan with Ra’s and finally I can! Tommy inspired this, and everyone contributed recently, and I just pieced it all together. So, I hope you enjoyed this. Happy birthday, Oliver!”
Finally, the projector was turned off and only the firelight illuminated the area. Oliver was too stunned, too touched to even move. He felt her hands come up to his face, wiping his tears and looked sideways to see her luminous, beautiful blue eyes shining up at him, his shirt hanging on her small frame.
“When?” he managed to utter, his voice hoarse with the emotions.
She smiled softly. “A few days ago. Everyone mailed me the videos and I just compiled it all together. I thought since it’s been eight years that you haven’t…”
She shrugged and bit her lip again. “Happy birthday, Oliver.”
His mouth trembled, staggered by the love this woman held for him, feeling so gifted, so undeserving of every memory she made with him. And she knew him too well, because the next thing he knew, she was pulling him in front of the fire, and removing his shirt from her body, standing naked and so, so beautiful.
She placed a hand on his heart, looking up at him with her wide eyes. “You are the most stubborn, exasperating and controlling man that I know.” A smile lifted her mouth, and he just looked back at her in awe. “You are also the best, most selfless and obviously the most handsome.”
A laugh escaped him at her words and she grinned. “You are beautiful, Oliver, inside out.”
He leaned forward and touched their foreheads together. “I don’t deserve you, Felicity.”
She smiled. “I mostly prove you wrong, Oliver. And I’ll happily spend my life proving you wrong again.”
She pushed up on her tiptoes, pressing her body to his, pulling him closer as she brushed his mouth. “Happy birthday, my love.”
Heart pounding with her nearness, still not used to the freedom he could take with her, the way he could hold her, make love to her, like he had dreamed for so long, he pulled her closer, slanting his mouth more solidly over hers, her endearment still surprising him.
They kissed softly for a few minutes, his emotions moved beyond words and she seemed to understand, pulling back slightly.
“Thank you,” he whispered, hugging her close, burying his face in her hair.
She brushed his growing hair with her fingers, just silently holding him while he got his bearings.
“You are everything, Oliver,” she muttered softly into his neck. “Everything.”
His heart constricted and he gripped her hair, crushing her mouth with his, their bloods heating. Even after having her constantly on every conceivable surface for almost a week, the hunger for her still gnawed at him. He would just be getting used to her and she would do or say something that would stump him again. Only she could turn him into a beast from a mush in a heartbeat. Only she could make him fall in love with her even more every second that she breathed.
He pulled her down on the rug with him, keeping their mouths locked and their tongues tangled. He had never fathomed, not even a month ago, that he would live to see another birthday, much less to celebrate it. He had never fathomed, not even two weeks ago, that he would be celebrating it with her on a rug in front of a fireplace in a snowed in cottage in a town he did not know the name of. He had never fathomed he would be so content with her, body and soul.
Like so many things about himself, he had forgotten something so simple like his birthday.
And moving over her, after eight long, hellish years, he realized it had all been worth it, for this precious gift, for this precious moment, for her reminder of who he was.